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Open Letter to President Obama

Thursday, May 17, 2012

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Dear President Obama, 

Your meeting at Camp David on May 19, 2012 to discuss food security with African leaders, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, is a major opportunity to address what may be the single largest man-made contributor to food insecurity on the continent today: large-scale land investments by foreign investors.

As you sit down with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, we ask you to consider the attached letter signed by more than 8,000 supporters of the indigenous and local communities of Gambella – 70,000 people in all – who are being forcibly relocated to make land available for investment in agriculture. There are plans to relocate an additional 150,000 people, most of whom are subsistence farmers who have been able, until now, to feed their families without receiving government or foreign aid over the last twenty years.

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